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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bass Pro Shop trophies
Display of trophy mounts at Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, Missouri

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"Trophies Of Victory"

"The priest replied, 'The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.' David said, 'There is none like it; give it to me'" (1 Samuel 21:9).

Whenever I'm near a Bass Pro Shops or Cabela's I like to stop and look around.  (For those who may not be aware Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's are large sporting good stores that especially focus on hunting and fishing). Although I am not a hunter and only a nominal fisherman I nevertheless enjoy walking around these mega sports stores.  This summer we went through the flagship Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, Missouri which, according to state statistics, is the single most attended tourist attraction in Missouri!

Red foxI enjoy looking at the large game trophies such as the photo above taken at the Springfield Bass Pro Shop. They collect these trophies from scores hunters for a very impressive display.

Of course individual hunters and fishermen also like to display their trophies. Yesterday I visited with Darryl, a friend who had this beautiful mount of a Red Fox, which he had taken right on his own farm.

This coming Sunday I'm speaking on David and Goliath and most who are even nominally Biblically literate know the story. *

Our daily text records an interesting event that happened sometime after the famous battle. Following the battle David became a hero, more popular in the eyes of the people than King Saul, which caused Saul to go into an uncontrollable jealous rage.  Most of the latter chapters of 1 Samuel record David fleeing from Saul's sword as he invariably pursued him day after day. It was a very despairing time and this led David to record his physical, emotional and spiritual battles which are revealed in several of the Psalms.  We often find ourselves turning to these very Psalms when we too are dealing with battles of one sort or another.

In today's Bible portion David is in need of a sword and Ahimelech the priest had for some reason been keeping Goliath's massive sword wrapped in a cloth.  That must have been quite a trophy!  Scripture records that Goliath's "spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels" (1 Samuel 17:7).  That's about 15 pounds!  You can imagine if the iron point of Goliath's spear shaft weighed 15 pounds just how enormous his entire sword must have been!

I'm intrigued by David's statement, "There is none like it; give it to me." I wonder what practical purpose David had in mind for this massive sword?  Well it's certainly possible he had some functional use for it or perhaps he intended to recycle the materials.

But in pondering this point I believe David's interest is not a practical use, but as a trophy, a powerful reminder of God's help during a past major conflict.  Humanly speaking young David was no match for the mighty Goliath.  He knew that.  But he relied on God for the victory. His great battle cry was, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied" (1 Samuel 17:45).

Abraham and his descendants frequently built altars when God brought about a supernatural phenomenon in their midst.  It was a physical, visible way of giving thanks to God and acknowledging that apart from His intervention defeat was imminent. Each time people passed by the altar their forefathers erected, their faith was fortified as they recalled the miraculous work God had performed for His people.

I wonder if Goliath's sword just may have been similar for David and his descendants; a visible reminder that he could still rely on God for the victory he sought at this difficult time in his life. The sword was a trophy of victory.

Self-assurance and self-sufficiency will ultimately lead to certain defeat.  But steadfast trust in Almighty God and acknowledgement that apart from Him we are powerless will lead us to ultimate victory.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, You provided David with supernatural courage, strength, and skill to defeat the bully of a giant, Goliath.  You divided the waters of the Red Sea and the Jordan River so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that we might always be in reverential fear of Your sovereign supremacy.  Nothing in ourselves will defeat the enemies we face, but "with God all things are possible."
See Joshua 4:24, Matthew 19:26

* The entire story of David and Goliath is found in 1 Samuel 17.
Brooksyne's Note: We may not have trophies of victory such as Goliath's huge sword, but the trophy of victory that each of us can display is the cross.  I have several crosses hung throughout our house to remind us of the price that Jesus paid for our sins and the victory that is ours through faith in Him.  It's amazing how an object representing scorn and death can bring about a representation of victory!

We had a beautiful late summer day yesterday, which began with an early morning dental appointment for all of us that ended up taking all morning. Due to this and other scheduling issues we were unable to prepare a daily encouragement message yesterday.  

By the way: For those who regularly read our daily email posts we try to place up an announcement on the Daily Encouragement Net website if we are unable to post a new message.

Here are some photos from our small portion of God's magnificent creation we saw yesterday in our travels.

Mowing the church lawn
Since the beginning of the year we have had a part-time pastoral role in a small country church in Mastersonville, PA, about ten miles from our home. Many in the congregation pitch in together to get what needs to be done done and yesterday I took a turn at mowing the church yard (some 3 acres of mowing). Thankfully we have a large zero turn mower to speed up the work. Note the beautiful farmland surrounding the church!

The following pohotos were all taken along a stretch of the Elizabethtown Road in Lancaster County.

Nuzzling horses
Darryl is a new friend who invited us to stop by and see his farm and horses yesterday. (The red fox photo above was taken in his home.) He has completely renovated a farmhouse built in the 1800's and done much to improve his property. We were intriqued by the nuzzling as the horses appeared to express affection for one another by gently rubbing their nose and at times gnawing their teeth (a good scratcher) on each other's backs!

Small shed in Lancaster County PA
We thought this is a rather cozy looking shed.

Note the small front porch with rocking chairs!

Pumpkin wagon
We don't weary of seeing pumpkins and wagons
and this one sure has an especially large pumpkin!

Scottish Highland cattle
 These Scottish Highland Cattle are at Union Mill Acres, a country flower stand near Little Chiques Creek.  See here for more photos we took last year at this interesting and colorful spot.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"The Battle Belongs To The Lord"  Video  Jamie Owens-Collins

"Praise The Lord"  Video  Russ Taff, a classic version! I recall how this song, which was popular in the eighties, ministered to me. It has great lyrics.

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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